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The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Act IV, Scene 1

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.


[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]

  • First Witch. Round about the cauldron go;
    In the poison'd entrails throw.
    Toad, that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Swelter'd venom sleeping got, 1555
    Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
  • All. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
  • Second Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the cauldron boil and bake; 1560
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
    Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble, 1565
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
  • All. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  • Third Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
    Witches' mummy, maw and gulf 1570
    Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
    Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
    Liver of blaspheming Jew,
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Silver'd in the moon's eclipse, 1575
    Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
    Make the gruel thick and slab:
    Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, 1580
    For the ingredients of our cauldron.
  • All. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  • Second Witch. Cool it with a baboon's blood,
    Then the charm is firm and good. 1585

[Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]

  • Hecate. O well done! I commend your pains;
    And every one shall share i' the gains;
    And now about the cauldron sing,
    Live elves and fairies in a ring, 1590
    Enchanting all that you put in.

[Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' &c]

[HECATE retires]

  • Second Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes. 1595
    Open, locks,
    Whoever knocks!


  • Macbeth. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
    What is't you do? 1600
  • All. A deed without a name.
  • Macbeth. I conjure you, by that which you profess,
    Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:
    Though you untie the winds and let them fight
    Against the churches; though the yesty waves 1605
    Confound and swallow navigation up;
    Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;
    Though castles topple on their warders' heads;
    Though palaces and pyramids do slope
    Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure 1610
    Of nature's germens tumble all together,
    Even till destruction sicken; answer me
    To what I ask you.
  • First Witch. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
    Or from our masters?
  • Macbeth. Call 'em; let me see 'em.
  • First Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten 1620
    Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
    From the murderer's gibbet throw
    Into the flame.
  • All. Come, high or low;
    Thyself and office deftly show! 1625

[Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head]

  • Macbeth. Tell me, thou unknown power,—
  • First Witch. He knows thy thought:
    Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
  • First Apparition. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; 1630
    Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.


  • Macbeth. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
    Thou hast harp'd my fear aright: but one
    word more,— 1635
  • First Witch. He will not be commanded: here's another,
    More potent than the first.

[Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child]

  • Macbeth. Had I three ears, I'ld hear thee. 1640
  • Second Apparition. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
    The power of man, for none of woman born
    Shall harm Macbeth.


  • Macbeth. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee? 1645
    But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
    And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
    That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
    And sleep in spite of thunder.
    [Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand] 1650
    What is this
    That rises like the issue of a king,
    And wears upon his baby-brow the round
    And top of sovereignty?
  • All. Listen, but speak not to't. 1655
  • Third Apparition. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
    Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
    Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
    Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
    Shall come against him. 1660


  • Macbeth. That will never be
    Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
    Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!
    Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood 1665
    Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
    Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
    To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
    Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
    Can tell so much: shall Banquo's issue ever 1670
    Reign in this kingdom?
  • All. Seek to know no more.
  • Macbeth. I will be satisfied: deny me this,
    And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
    Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this? 1675


  • All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; 1680
    Come like shadows, so depart!
    [A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in]
    his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following]
  • Macbeth. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!
    Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair, 1685
    Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
    A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
    Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
    What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
    Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more: 1690
    And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
    Which shows me many more; and some I see
    That two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:
    Horrible sight! Now, I see, 'tis true;
    For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me, 1695
    And points at them for his.
    [Apparitions vanish]
    What, is this so?
  • First Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
    Stands Macbeth thus amazedly? 1700
    Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
    And show the best of our delights:
    I'll charm the air to give a sound,
    While you perform your antic round:
    That this great king may kindly say, 1705
    Our duties did his welcome pay.

[Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with HECATE]

  • Macbeth. Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
    Stand aye accursed in the calendar!
    Come in, without there! 1710

[Enter LENNOX]

  • Lennox. What's your grace's will?
  • Macbeth. Saw you the weird sisters?
  • Macbeth. Came they not by you? 1715
  • Macbeth. Infected be the air whereon they ride;
    And damn'd all those that trust them! I did hear
    The galloping of horse: who was't came by?
  • Lennox. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word 1720
    Macduff is fled to England.
  • Macbeth. Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits:
    The flighty purpose never is o'ertook 1725
    Unless the deed go with it; from this moment
    The very firstlings of my heart shall be
    The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
    To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
    The castle of Macduff I will surprise; 1730
    Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
    His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
    That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
    This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
    But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen? 1735
    Come, bring me where they are.